Being Mama: Rachel Zoe

When it comes to navigating motherhood in style, no one does it quite as effortlessly as celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. We caught up with the mother of two to talk raising boys, managing the juggle and her ultimate style secrets…

Vanessa Tierney

Rachel Zoe is one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry. She started her career as a world-renowned stylist transforming the styling business and inspiring future generations of stylists. Her client list includes celebrity names such as Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. She also has a namesake clothing line which is sold in more than 250 stores around the world, an online style destination, The Zoe Report which reaches over 13 million people worldwide and is home to the addictive Box of Style, and, is the author of two published books and is an avid philanthropist. Are you keeping up? There’s also the new collection she’s designed for Maxi-Cosi and Quinny. Super mom doesn’t quite cut it. Yet ask her what a typical day in the Zoe household is like, and it turns out, the LA-based designer, editor, author, stylist and mother to five-year-old Skyler and two-year-old Kaius, is just like every other working mum trying to juggle her demanding career with raising two young boys. A juggle she shares with her hands-on husband, Rodger Berman, the President of Rachel Zoe.

“My day starts when my five-year-old alarm clock wakes me between 5:30am and 6am. I grab Kaius from his crib and head down to make breakfast for my boys and pack lunch for Skyler. While the boys eat, I run upstairs and get ready, then drive Sky to school,” she says. Next she’ll head to the office. “Between editorial meetings for The Zoe Report, design meetings, curating products to include in the next Box of Style, no day at the office is ever the same. “I then grab Skyler from school and we are home for dinner, bath and bedtime.” The stylist-to-the-stars couldn’t be more open and refreshingly honest about motherhood.

Determination and a strong work ethic runs in the Zoe family – her own father was an entrepreneur who juggled fatherhood with being the President of two successful companies. Rachel is the first to admit that while she might have created a fashion empire, she’s worked hard for it. So what are her secrets on how to run a business when you’re a mom? “Don’t abuse your power, micro manage, or sweat the small stuff. If you have a bad day, don’t bring it home with you. And always remember what your priorities are.”

When Skyler arrived five years ago, she reorganized things to make the transition into motherhood easier. Initially, Rachel’s team came to her house. “My team was much smaller and everyone would come and work from my house. I just kind of relocated my team to my dining room,” she says. When Kaius arrived a couple of years later, she was in a fitting eight days after she gave birth. “I went back to work much faster! In regards to time management, for me, it’s all about being present. When I’m at work, I focus on work. When I’m with the boys, I’m 100% with them. I will say since becoming a mother, I’m much better at time management, because I have to be.”

Does Rachel ever feel overwhelmed by the juggle of work and motherhood? “Almost everyday, sometimes more than others,” she admits. “It is a constant struggle to balance work and motherhood. I try my best to be 100% present with whatever I’m doing. She also takes things one day at a time. “I have never been a big sleeper, so the issue of lack of sleep as a new parent wasn’t a shock to me. That being said, with the combination of work and motherhood… it is a whole new level or physical and emotional exhaustion. I run mostly on adrenalin and I’m driven by my passion for what I do. I just try to take one day at a time.” The most challenging part of balancing work with motherhood for Zoe is the travel: “Having to leave my children for business trips is always hard on me,” she says. When her son Skyler was younger, she was able to take him with her. “Now that I have two children and my oldest is starting kindergarten, it makes it much more difficult to travel with the kids,” says Rachel.

It was Labor Day weekend and Rachel was in the Hamptons when she discovered she was pregnant with her first child. “I didn’t prepare one bit. Skyler was a happy surprise!” she recalls. “My first pregnancy was amazing and I felt great throughout… other than being tired during the first few months. My second pregnancy was tough! I was sick from week six to week 14. But after that, it was smooth sailing.” Her births also went smoothly. “I didn’t have birth plans or study up on labor because I didn’t want to have any preconceived ideas about what it would be like. I just jumped in and both births were a success!” she says.

On going from one to two children, Rachel says it was a big change, but a welcome one. “It’s more fun and there’s more love! But it is a learning curve, knowing how to divide your love and attention in two”. Rachel describes Skyler as “unique, magnetic and passionate” and Kaius as “delicious, affectionate and joyful” and loves nothing more than being at home with her boys. “I really love doing the simple things. I would say tucking them in and story time is probably my favorite,” says Rachel.

On the best advice she’s ever been given on motherhood? Pick your battles. “My mother always said to pick your battles. Choose what is important to be strict on, and know what to let go,” she says. We couldn’t agree with this stylish mama more. We also quizzed Rachel on her maternity staples, pregnancy essentials and favorite kidswear labels…

Rachel’s maternity staples:

“During my pregnancies, I wore lots of dark colors and drapey tunics, jackets, thigh high boots and long duster Rick Owens sweaters and coats. For the evening, I wore lots of Lanvin.”

Rachel’s pregnancy essentials:

  1. Honest home products and specifically their belly balm
  2. Tata Harper skin care
  3. Lots of comfortable cashmere and oversized sweaters – Rick Owens, Stella McCartney, and Chanel
  4. A good black ankle or thigh high boot
  5. Zoya nail polish

Rachel’s must-have products for new moms:

  1. I have just designed a line of strollers, car seats and a diaper bag with Quinny/ Maxi-Cosi and they are beautiful! They are extremely stylish, luxurious and practical.
  2. I’m also really obsessive about cribs! I keep my kids in them for as long as possible because I think they sleep better. I like to look at them as pieces of art and I like to use them as focal points of a nursery. I like the brands Spot on Square and Ubabub. Offi Nest also makes a beautiful bassinet and Bloom makes an amazing leather bouncer.
  3. The Stokke Steps high chair is also one of my favorites as is the Bloom. I believe that baby gear can and should be chic, so you enjoy having these pieces in your living space.

Zoe’s favorite childrenswear labels:

  • Bonpoint
  • Louis Louis
  • Nico Nico
  • Marie-Chantal
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Burberry
  • Bonton
  • Stella McCartney